Savings cabinet

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Savings cabinet in the Cologne Gaffelklause

A saving cabinet - including Community Saving box , saving box or saving box , in Austria also Sparverein box - is an equipped, large and robust multi-Coin slots money box for wall mounting. Each of the numbered or labeled slots leads to its own savings compartment for coins or paper money. Savings boxes are attached to a wall in restaurants and are used for sociable “club” or “association savings ” for a fixed group of savers . From the point of view of financial institutions , savings cabinets used to be one of the small savings facilities they provided , while savings communities now have to procure and maintain the cabinets themselves.


Wooden saver cabinet from Achim

The forerunners of the savings boxes for saving together are money boxes with slots for several family members, for example in the form of a book box with four slots, as they first appeared in the 1890s. The need for larger containers with more storage compartments arose with the idea of ​​community saving, for example in schools, clubs or savings associations . The latter are recorded in Germany from 1847. It is no longer known today when such groups started using common savings boxes or safes. A company that was still producing savings cabinets made of sheet steel in 2016 claims their introduction from 1922: The company, initially based in Berlin and now in Meldorf , was founded that year for savings cabinet production.

However, there is at least one previous mention of a savings box: Seidel / Müller report in their 1913 article on measures to promote small- scale savings from the patenting of a savings box by Pastor Flügge in Greiz . The tin box served to make school savings easier , for which a teacher otherwise had to collect weekly cash amounts from the children in his class and deposit them into a savings account. Flügge's boxes were available with 21, 32 or 40 compartments, in front of which the names of the saving children were written on attached crossbars. They each had an insertion hole and a slot for each subject and were secured by a double lockable lid, with one key for the teacher and the other for another person, e.g. B. an assigned student received. The boxes were sold at prices of 13.50, 18 or 20.75 Reichsmarks , depending on their size . Seidel / Müller do not provide any information as to whether the box was placed standing or hanging.

Savings clubs and savings associations

After a the First World War following economy of the club saving it came during the Second World War an almost complete standstill. In the heyday of club savings following the war following the currency reform of 1948 (West Germany) , in which many savings clubs were founded or re-established, many banks and savings banks supported collective savings as part of the savings promotion and the acquisition of less wealthy private individuals, who until then had hardly paid for them Clientele belonged. In this context, the financial institutes advertised the installation of savings cabinets in business and guest rooms. They helped found local associations and, in addition to other material and advisory services, also provided the savings cabinet with a promotional imprint of the respective institute free of charge. In addition to forms of savings such as savings brands , profit saving and school savings , the safe-deposit system was one of the small savings institutions from the banks' point of view .

The cupboard acted as an eye-catcher for the future saver, as a "silent but tireless and free advertiser". The size of the savings associations grew rapidly: In 1950, 143 savings banks still supported association savings, with sales of 14.08 million German marks , two years later there were 333 savings banks with sales of 49.23 million marks.

In the years after the Second World War, some banks tried to set up savings boxes without setting up savings associations. The institutes took on the administration of the cabinets themselves; Customers in the shops at the installation site can deposit different amounts of savings there without obligation, such as change after a purchase. The resulting effort and the costs of managing individual accounts did not stand up to the comparison with savings associations, which is why the banks soon abandoned this distribution channel.

Bank withdrawal

In the 1980s and 1990s, the institutes slowly withdrew from promoting community savings. Because the business with small savers no longer seemed profitable, the banks' commitment to material and personal support for club savings was reduced: after all, savings lockers were no longer made available. Since then, the savings associations have had to handle the organization and procurement of savings cabinets and other aids independently. Nevertheless, savings cabinets still hang in many restaurants today, and they are also used. The Meldorf- based, largest manufacturer of savings cabinets in Germany, Nordia, produced over 800,000 of the boxes between 1922 and 2009, of which at least 250,000 are still in use, according to the company. Production was discontinued in 2016. Another manufacturer from Cologne says it sells around 400 savings boxes per year.

Appearance and function

Opened savings box "Einigkeit-Bierden" with storage compartments

A savings cabinet is usually a rectangular sheet metal box eight to ten centimeters deep. Width and height depend on the number of storage compartments: The popular "Nordia Sesam" model is available in sizes between 19.5 × 19.2 centimeters (twelve storage compartments) and 56.8 × 64.4 cm (132 compartments) . In addition to the metal cabinets, some early wooden examples are still preserved today, for example a cabinet from Achim in Lower Saxony from the 1930s.

A savings cabinet has a typically horizontal slot for each of its storage compartments, into which coins and folded banknotes can be pushed. Behind it there are separate metal or plastic storage compartments. A spatula-like slide can be attached to the box , with which banknotes can be pressed into the slot; it is usually attached with a chain to protect it from loss. The slots are numbered or have small windows for name tags. Often both forms of labeling are used at the same time. Where there are no viewing windows for name tags, savers in some cases stick labels on the cupboard if the compartments are to be labeled by name.

The metal cupboards used to be painted mostly in brown or gray tones; often with a hammered surface. More modern cabinets are available painted in many colors using the spray or dip coating process .

Some savings cabinets have an attached sign or a facing gable on their top. The name and logo of the issuing bank or the respective savings association are attached to it.

To protect against theft, savings cabinets can be pegged into the wall several times . The front panel can be opened completely using the hinges to empty the cabinet . It is usually secured with two different locks. In accordance with the four-eyes principle , this should ensure that the cabinet can only be opened by two people at the same time, each with a key.


"Einigkeit-Bierden" cash book from 1936

Today, savings cabinets hang almost exclusively in restaurants and pubs , where they are used by savings associations, savings clubs and savings associations . The various terms are used synonymously . The basis of savings is a motivation that is oriented towards social gathering and less towards wealth accumulation, which is expressed in the joint activities of the groups. The members of the savings association undertake to regularly put at least a fixed amount of money in the savings cabinet. That this should happen when visiting the restaurant while consuming food and drinks in the company of other club members is not specified, but it is definitely intended. Missed payments can result in consequences such as fines. The savings cabinet is opened at regular intervals by one or two designated cashiers. All storage compartments are emptied, the contents are counted, booked and deposited into a bank account.

At the end of a savings year, the savings deposits are paid out in a festive setting that is based on different traditions.

The savings cabinet as a corpus delicti

Both the cash holdings in the savings box and the accounts of the savings associations were and are sometimes exposed to criminal access. In the event of break-ins in restaurants , the cupboards are the preferred target of thieves who open the cupboard or even take it with them to get hold of the cash it contains. The robust containers do not have a material thickness comparable to a safe , so that break-ins are the typical consequence of a break-in. Many savings boxes, however, have a serial number so that they can be assigned when stolen property is found. The savings associations or the innkeeper can cover the risk of a break-in by taking out insurance.

A criminal “classic” is the case of the “runaway cashier”, ie the embezzlement of funds by officials of the savings club. Although most savings associations are spared such total losses, there are always reports of cashiers who cannot resist the temptation to access five-digit amounts of money and who attack the savings stocks. The four-eyes principle applied by many associations, i.e. the assignment of two cashiers who are only able to act together, is intended to rule out such incidents.


  • Association savings: Leaflet for association and club savings . Sparkassenverlag, Stuttgart, 1953
  • Freddie Röckenhaus and Goggi Strauss: Always liquid . Article in ZEIT magazine No. 45 from November 1, 1991

Web links

Commons : Spar closet  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Paul Kroha: Piggy banks of all times , Günter Wagner Verpackungswerke Hannover 1939, p. 40
  2. Vereinssparen, p. 6
  3. ^ Karl Eugen Ritter: The savings contract in the name of a third party , dissertation of the law faculty of the Friedrich-Alexander-Universität zu Erlangen, 1960, p. 13
  4. ^ Corporate website of Nordia GmbH & Co. Spezialfabrik für Spareinrichtungen KG , accessed on December 26, 2013.
  5. Max Seidel, Waldemar Müller: Measures to promote the small savings system . In: Association for social policy (ed.): Studies on the people's savings system . second volume, no. 137 . von Dunder and Humblot, Berlin, Leipzig 1913, p. 263 .
  6. Vereinssparen, p. 9
  7. ^ Lothar Gall: The Deutsche Bank, 1870-1995 . CH Beck, 1995, ISBN 978-3-406-38945-0 , pp. 770 ( [accessed January 23, 2016]).
  8. Wolfgang Grill, Ludwig Gramlich, Roland Eller (eds.): Gabler Bank Lexicon: Bank, Stock Exchange, Financing . 11, illustrated edition. Springer-Verlag, 2013, ISBN 978-3-322-82939-9 , pp. 925 .
  9. Vereinssparen, p. 17
  10. Vereinssparen, p. 29
  11. Vereinssparen, p. 14
  12. a b c d Always liquid , ZEIT magazine
  13. a b c d e Augsburger Allgemeine: Have a beer at the Sparkasse - the coming and going of the savings cupboards. In: Augsburger Allgemeine. Retrieved January 23, 2016 .
  14. Christmas bonus thanks to savings cabinet , Saarbrücker Zeitung of September 9, 2008, online  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. Retrieved October 2, 2009@1@ 2Template: Toter Link /  
  15. ^ Press release from Nordia GmbH from October 1, 2002
  16. Website of the Heimatverein Achim ( Memento from November 28, 2011 in the Internet Archive ), accessed on September 18, 2009
  17. Numerous newspaper and online reports testify to this type of crime, exemplary [1]  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. , [2] , Archived copy ( Memento of the original from January 22, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.@1@ 2Template: Dead Link /   @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  18. Press reports on relevant cases, for example [3] , [4] , A 56-YEAR-OLD HAS DEFECTED HIS FRIENDS BY EUR 26,000 Everyone saved - one of them ripped off